‘Magic of campaign’ can swing next GE, says Kit Siang

By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Despite a decline in fortunes for the federal opposition since the 2008 general election, Lim Kit Siang believes that the campaign period for the next general election (GE) will be a “completely different ball game.”

In a biography published last weekend, the DAP parliamentary leader cited the last national polls where excitement had only been felt during the “magic of the campaign period.”

“This is something that cannot be felt except during the campaign period. Now, we all have our doubts but once the election campaign begins, we are in a completely different ball game,” he said in academician Ooi Kee Beng’s “The Right to Differ”.

“When it is time to cast your vote, the environment is different, the scenario is different, and the things that happen during the two weeks or whatever before that play a great role,” he explained.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) had surprised many observers by denying Barisan Nasional (BN) its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament, taking 82 seats and also five state governments in the March 2008 polls.

Lim had termed that general election a “tsunami,” a phrase that has since caught on, and admitted in the book that he did not expect to make such gains and deny BN its two-thirds.

However, the opposition pact’s momentum has slowed since late 2009, winning just one by-election since then and seeing between seven and 10 per cent of Malay voters swinging back to BN.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also enjoyed a 69 per cent approval in a survey conducted late last year, about 18 months after taking over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had presided over BN’s worst showing in an election.